PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this month’s final look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. Comparing 6+ numbers, 51% of news/talk stations saw their weekly AQH share decrease from the May 2018 survey to the June survey. Looking at year-over-year numbers, 51% of stations realized AQH share gains. In the June 2018 survey, 13 news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their markets (6+), with Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; Entercom’s KMOX, St. Louis; and iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati ranking #1 in their respective markets. See Kinosian’s entire report here.
Nielsen Releases Podcast Insights Study. This “marketers guide to podcasting” from Nielsen Audio explores the purchasing habits of podcasting fans in the fast-moving packaged goods category – groceries, booze, pet goods, personal care items, etc. Based on its Homescan panel with additional data from an online questionnaire of those panelists who identify as fans of podcasting, Nielsen says, “The podcast listener tends to spend more at the grocery store on a weekly basis according to our research. Advertisers who can leverage the podcast audience may find a greater ROI since this group tends to spend more.” The study examines the buying habits of avid podcast fans based on podcast genre. For example, the graphic at right shows the top five product categories purchased by fans of news and politics podcasts, as measured by the influence those fans have had on a category’s annual sales.
WFAN’s Joe Benigno Off the Air Today. Contrary to the report published on Friday (7/20) in TALKERS based on a New York Post piece, midday sports talk personality Joe Benigno will not be on the air today. Benigno – who is accused of sexual harassment in a suit filed against him, WFAN, and other staffers in New York state court in Brooklyn by former WFAN sales exec Laura Lockwood – was on vacation last week when the suit was filed. Initially, the station said Benigno would be back on the air today (7/23) and that it looked forward to defending itself and Benigno. However, after letting clients know that Benigno would remain off the air today, the station is apparently doing its own investigation into Lockwood’s claims and deems it wise to keep him off the radio for now. The station has not made public his return date.
NBC Sports Radio Adds Chris Simms and Peter King to ‘Pro Football Talk Live.’ Two NFL experts are added to the roster of NBC Sports Radio’s “Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio.” The press release from NBC Sports says former NFL quarterback Chris Simms continues as a part-time co-host during the radio/TV simulcast hours on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN, and that NFL insider Peter King joins the program for a weekly, two-hour simulcast. “Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio” launched in January of 2015 and is currently heard in morning drive on more than 150 affiliate stations. It’s also heard on SiriusXM.
iHeartMedia’s ‘FM 96.9 The Game’ New Flagship for Orlando Magic. Jumping from Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM, Orlando to iHeartMedia’s simulcast of WYGM-AM/W245CL “FM 96.9 The Game” is the NBA’s Orlando Magic. The station will serve as the flagship for the franchise’s radio play-by-play. Dennis Neumann is handling play-by-play, Richie Adubato takes on the color analyst duties for all home games, while Brandon Kravitz serves as pregame, halftime and postgame host for all games, and will provide sideline reports for all home contests. Additional programming includes the nightly, half-hour “Magic Drive Time” hosted by Dante Marchitelli.
Wither ‘Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw?’ We know that Shelly Dunn is retiring from radio and the “Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw” program that’s been heard in the San Diego market for the past 28 years. But now that rock KFMB-FM owner Tegna has announced that it and the show have failed to come to terms on a new agreement, where the show will land is the big question. For its part, Tegna says, “After extensive negotiations and a generous offer to the DSC team, we were unfortunately unable to reach an agreement to keep the show here at KFMB. We wish the DSC the very best with their future pursuits. We also want to thank and wish Shelly Dunn well on her retirement, which she announced last week. She’s had an incredible 30-year career and will be missed. We are looking to the future and remain committed to our listeners in San Diego.” Dave Rickards posted a series of tweets showing his removing the show’s stuff from the KFMB studios and saying he has a new place to put it, and ending with, “Announcement coming shortly.” Some industry watchers believe the show might be destined for Entercom’s struggling sports talker KWFN, based on the idea that the DSC show would be a good way to draw listeners to the newly flipped station – that is if Entercom wants a non-sports show in morning drive. Stay tuned.
Chad Benson Show Clears on ‘Power Talk 1360’ in Modesto-Stockton. The Radio America nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is now airing in the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFIV “Power Talk 1360” in the Modesto-Stockton, California market. KFIV-AM is added to the recent list of affiliates to begin carrying the show, including KTAR-FM, Phoenix and KSTE-AM, Sacramento.
Trump-Putin Summit, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-E.U. Trade War Threats, Trump-Rouhani Threats, Jeanine Pirro-The View Spat, Trader Joe’s Slaying/Standoff, Toronto Shooting, Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 Films, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of President Trump’s summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Trump tariffs on goods from the European Union and concerns about a new trade war; President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani exchange threats; FOX News star Jeanine Pirro’s boisterous exit from an appearance on ABC’s “The View”; the slaying of a Trader Joe’s staffer after a standoff with an armed man in Los Angeles; the deadly shooting in a Toronto restaurant; the opening weekend of the Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 films; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
EXCLUSIVE TALKERS AUDIO: Michael Harrison Interviews Former CBS Radio CEO/President Dan Mason About VSiN and the Potential Impact of Legalized Sports Betting on Media. Launched in 2017, VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network) is the first media network dedicated to providing news, analysis and proprietary data to the millions of Americans who bet on sports and make gambling a multimillion-dollar industry. Launched by sports media legend Brent Musberger and fueled by award-winning broadcasters and legendary odds makers, VSiN’s mission is to inform and entertain these consumers wherever and whenever they want it. A dedicated SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel (204) is among the platforms on which VSiN is available, which also include live video streaming, web (www.VSiN.com), mobile and social. One of the principals in the VSiN organization is former CBS Radio CEO/president Dan Mason who serves as a strategic advisor and investor participating in all aspects of the company’s operations. Mason, who served in the top position at CBS Radio for 15 years, is one of the most colorful and accomplished figures in the radio industry today. He is a Radio Hall of Fame inductee who also serves as an advisor to iHeartMedia and chairman of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, in addition to participating as a talent in network sports play-by-play announcing and commentary (women’s basketball and horse racing). TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who worked closely with Mason in the late 1980s establishing WZLX, Boston as one of the nation’s leading classic rock stations, caught up with him yesterday (7/17) for an exclusive telephone interview. They discuss VSiN and the potential impact of legalized sports betting on the media industry. To listen to the conversation in its entirety, please click
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Taking on the title of director of music programming in Baltimore for Entercom is Tom Cook. The company announces he’ll be responsible for programming adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9” and CHR WWMX “Mix 106.5.” Cook was most recently Michigan regional operations manager for Townsquare Media. Entercom SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys comments, “We are delighted to welcome Tom to our team. He has an amazing track record of accomplishments at the various stations he has programmed and we look forward to him bringing that enthusiasm and experience to us here in Baltimore.”…..On-air pro Dan Day exits his role as evening host at Guaranty Media’s classic rock WDGL, Baton Rouge “Eagle 98.1.” At the same time, the company announces that Mike Benson– who also serves as an account executive for the cluster, is returning to the air to host the midday program.
Most Talk Radio Programmers are Avoiding Use of the Term “Shithole” in Wake of Presidential Sh*tstorm. Once again, President Donald J. Trump – for better or worse – has shaken up the standards of traditional broadcasting and journalism. This time, with his controversial remark about immigration using the term “shithole” to describe countries from which he considers immigration particularly undesirable. The controversial racist aspect of this story notwithstanding, FCC-regulated broadcasters have had to make the quick decision to directly utter the term on the airwaves or buffer it with less offensive and non-potentially rule-breaking words. This decision has been made more difficult by the fact that many traditional, so-called mainstream cable outlets and online/print news media have chosen to use the word as the President said it. In conversations around the industry this morning TALKERS has learned that the prevailing tact on terrestrial talk radio has been NOT to use the word directly. Cumulus Media/Westwood One EVP Mike McVay tells TALKERS, “Despite cable television taking great joy in saying the ‘S’ word on TV, we are not saying the actual word on over the air radio. We recognize it as one of the seven words we cannot say. That has not stopped us from using it on our digital platforms.” Salem Radio Network senior VP, Phil Boyce says, “The word ‘shit’ is one of the FCC-banned words and our hosts should never use it, no matter if the president did or didn’t. My morning guy in Los Angeles, Brian Whitman, will be using the word “BLANK hole.” We want our shows to be safe for the whole family. No need to have listeners turn off the radio because kids are in the car.” Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto – owner of a number of stations in Pennsylvania and upstate New York – adds, “We haven’t changed our policy – we still do not say anything on air that violates George Carlin’s ‘Seven words you can’t say on television.'” ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones tells TALKERS, “ABC News Radio anchors and reporters are not speaking that word on air as it could be considered an FCC violation and it also might offend local community standards. Instead, we are referring to the phrase as an ‘expletive’ or ‘profanity.’ We have 1,650 affiliates and the majority use our ABC ‘Newscall’ service – which provides on-demand audio of reporters and actualities. We are more permissive in what we provide on that service because it is the decision of the station whether to run the audio – whereas as we control the newscast content and therefore have unilateral decision-making. If audio existed of any president using a profanity, we would put it on ‘Newscall’ and let stations decide its usage. If we determined language was so newsworthy we felt obligated to include it in a newscast, we would probably warn stations in advance. But, that’s hard to effectively control and I don’t recall it being done in many years.” Although the consensus is to avoid using the word directly on the airwaves, not everyone in talk radio fully agrees that the way to go. Nationally-famous, station owner/operator (and industry maverick) Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOME, Santa Cruz tells TALKERS that he will use the word on his own show (“The Saturday Special”) but respects the rights of his air personalities to make their own decisions, “My position is to use the word on the air since it is a bona fide news story – but I just checked with the ‘Good Morning Monterey Bay’ staff [the station’s morning show] and was told they opted to say ‘s-hole’ and to play the Haitian national anthem.” Zwerling continues, “Trump apparently has denied using that word (which is one of my favorites) but even if he was falsely accused of using it by the news media almost universally out to get him – it has nonetheless become a legitimate news story and therefore would fall into my category of okay to use on the air. Besides, it moves our industry in the direction of parity with the ‘paid’ services that have been and are allowed to use profanity with impunity!” Media consultant/TALKERS columnist/and RT America host Holland Cooke says, “It is a big topic with heavy phones at my client stations this morning. My advice: Ask listeners, ‘If he said that word, should we, here on the radio?'” TALKERS legal editor and Bentley University law professor Steven JJ Weisman says, “It is my opinion that the use of the word ‘shithole’ in the context of discussing the president’s comments would be allowed.” For Weisman’s full comments, please read the story below.
Steve Weisman’s Legal Take on Terrestrial Radio’s Use of Term “Shithole.” TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman offers his educated view on the terrestrial radio “shithole” issue prompted by President Donald J. Trump’s use of the term. To read the piece in its entirety, please click here.
Save the Date! Talkers 2018 Set for Friday, June 8, 2018 in New York City. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce the date and location of the 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention. Titled TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, the power-packed, one-day event will take place on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan in New York City. This marks the second year in a row that the convention will be held at this very popular venue. The conference will feature top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry with a focus on talk radio and its role in the new digital age and dawn of a rapidly accelerating era. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology – the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing the modern day talk broadcaster and broadcasting organization. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. The event will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch and a closing cocktail reception. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “As has always been the case with this annual gathering, all the way back to its days as ‘The New Media Seminar,’ TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! will focus on the future. There is no doubt about it; we are at the dawn of an exciting new era – full of both daunting challenges and fabulous opportunities. Good things happen at this convention. We pack three days’ worth of content and activity into one dynamic day and comfortable space. It is not to be missed!” Complete agenda and hotel details will be posted in the coming days and weeks. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments costs $329 per person. However, an early bird special ($279 per person) is available for those who register before 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 2. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Gwiazdon Goes to Beasley Media Group Las Vegas as VP/MM. Most recently vice president and market manager of Midwest Communications’ Nashville adult contemporary WJXA “Mix 92.9”; adult hits WCJK “96.3 Jack FM”; and CHR WNFN “i106.7,” Dennis Gwiazdon began similar duties yesterday (1/11) for Beasley Media Group Las Vegas. According to Beasley Media Group executive vice president and chief operating officer Brian Beasley, “It is a privilege to welcome Dennis to the Beasley Media Group family. His proven track record and leadership skills are the perfect fit for our Las Vegas cluster as we continue to grow and expand our business in the market.” Gwiazdon, who was president of the Nashville Area Radio Association, states, “I am absolutely thrilled about joining the Beasley team. There is tremendous potential for us in Las Vegas and I’m grateful [to be given] the opportunity to make a difference.” Prior to his Nashville duties, Gwiazdon was president of San Diego-based Sales Insights. He previously held the vice president/general manager title at Seattle’s KRWM; San Diego’s KGB-FM and KPOP-AM; San Diego’s KMCG and KXGL; and Salt Lake City’s KKAT. With their Nielsen Audio December 2017 6+ AQH share and market rank in parentheses, Beasley Media Group’s Las Vegas cluster includes classic hits-oldies KKLZ “96.3 70s, 80s, and More” (6.3, #2); urban-rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” (4.0, #6); country KCYE “102.7 The Coyote” (3.7, #9); hot AC KVGS “Star 107.9” (2.8, #15); news/talk KDWN “AM 720” (.7, #26); and KCYE-HD2, which did not appear in the December 2017 sweep. The Las Vegas market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNE “Sunny 106.5” (10.6, 6+), while Midwest Nashville’s WJXA “Mix” is on top (6+) with a 9.9.
WBUR, Reddit Debut “Endless Thread.” That’s the name of the weekly Ben Brock Johnson-hosted podcast done in partnership with Boston University-owned news/talk WBUR and Reddit, “the front page of the internet.” Starting today (1/12), weekly installments will be available every Friday to stream or download. According to Johnson, “Reddit is one of the most formidable communities online. Its lifeblood is people from all over the world sharing and organizing around every imaginable topic, making it an incredibly valuable resource for anyone trying to understand our world. As a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by Reddit for years, but I’ve also become an avid ‘redditor.’ I’m always surprised at what a mystery Reddit is to people who don’t use it. I’m looking forward to solving that mystery for the uninitiated, and helping ‘redditors’ share their incredible, real life stories with the world.” Reddit creative development manager Michael Pope remarks, “Reddit is home to the most authentic conversations on the internet and we know there is a massive opportunity to host thoughtful conversations about these stories in audio form. As one of the leading NPR affiliates in the country, we can’t wait to see what happens when we pair the production polish and talent at WBUR with the most compelling stories online.” The first episode, “No No No No Yes,” explores harrowing tales through first-hand interviews with ‘redditors’ who lived to tell their stories.
TALKERS News Notes. After a brief hiatus from a national platform, Dave Ross returns next Monday (1/15) with a daily, 90-second, CBS News Radio commentary, originally scheduled for a February 5 start date. Heard weekdays (“Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross”) on Bonneville-owned KIRO-FM, Ross is a five-time Edward R. Murrow award winner for best writing … This time next month (2/12), previous morning host of St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98” Guy Phillips begins doing afternoons at news/talk KTRS “Big 550 The Talk of STL”; Julie Buck will be his co-host … Five Entercom Chicago stations – sports talk WSCR “670 The Score,” all-news WBBM-AM, CHR WBBM-FM “B-96,” triple A WXRT “93 XRT,” and country WUSN “US-99” – will be broadcasting from this year’s “Cubs Convention” today (1/12), tomorrow (Saturday, 1/13), and Sunday (1/14). Entercom Chicago senior vice president/market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We look forward to this event where our brands can interact with fellow Chicago Cubs fans. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Chicago Cubs organization as the exclusive radio home of the Chicago Cubs.” This weekend’s event is taking place at Chicago’s Sheraton Grand Hotel. WSCR continues as the team’s radio flagship ….. Former Tribune Broadcasting White House correspondent and Long Island television news anchor/reporter Drew Scott joins JVC Media news/talk WRCN “Long Island News Radio 103.9” as a reporter. JVC Media president/CEO John Caracciolo comments, “Having someone like Drew is a complete win for us. His job will be to use the contact list he has developed over the years to help us open doors; get the story; and get the info Long Islanders need and want. This is live, local and hometown radio the way it is supposed to be.” WRCN operations director Frank Brinka notes, “Drew is a great addition to our staff. His wealth of news reporting and knowledge of the Long Island landscape will be an asset to the station. He will deliver a wealth of information to our listening audience.” Scott adds, “I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic, live and local radio news organization. I am looking forward to helping ‘LI News Radio’ and JVC continue to grow and prosper.” ….. The flagship of MLB’s Minnesota Twins from 1961 – 2006, Entercom Minneapolis’ WCCO “News Radio 830,” returns in that capacity this year. The first of its 15-game spring training broadcast schedule will be (Thursday) February 22 when the Twins play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Cory Provus, Dan Gladden, and Kris Atteberry comprise WCCO’s on-air team ….. Launching on SiriusXM next Wednesday (1/17) is “Barstool Radio,” the 24/7 channel for Barstool’s unfiltered approach to covering sports, men’s lifestyle, and popular culture. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy remarks, “We are excited to launch our Barstool channel. It has been a wild ride to get to this point and this is another big step in our plan for total world domination.” SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen comments, “In today’s crowded media landscape, Barstool stands out as a unique and compelling voice. Live radio thrives on the kind of spontaneous and entertaining content that Barstool delivers every day. We don’t know what they are going to say next, but Barstool Radio on SiriusXM will be the place to hear it live and talk about it.” Weekday call-in shows will include: “The Barstool Radio Show” with Portnoy and Kevin “KFC” Clancy (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET); “The Heartland Radio Show” with former NFL punter Pat McAfee (10:00 am -1:00 pm, ET); and “The Evening Yak” with Dan “Big Cat” Katz (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, ET). Barstool Radio will be on SiriusXM’s “Power 85” and on the SiriusXM app ….. For over three weeks, Alpha Media Bakersfield (California) news/talk KNZR AM & FM “News-Talk-Dodgers,” mainstream CHR KLLY “Energy 95.3,” and urban-rhythmic oldies KKBB “Groove 99.3” collected food and water for fire victims in Ventura and Santa Barbara. KLLY program director Danny Hill comments, “I am very proud of my community and I love the support they always show. Bakersfield constantly gives to others and is at the forefront of a lot of charity events.” A local veterans chapter helped to deliver the supplies.
British Talk Show Host and TalkersRadio Personality Graham Mack Forced to Apologize for On Air Statement that PM Theresa May “Has No Balls.” It is always fascinating to compare and contrast American radio with broadcasting in other English-speaking countries when it comes to tolerance, freedom of speech and political controversy. Well-known English talk show host Graham Mack, host of the popular BOB-FM, Herfordshire (greater London) breakfast show got himself into a sticky situation on Wednesday (1/10) by boldly stating that British Prime Minister Theresa May “has no balls.” According to a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, The comment came on yesterday’s (January 10) breakfast show during a lengthy rant about May’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, in which he also claimed that she was the “weakest Prime Minister” the country had ever seen. Mack went on to berate the reshuffle, saying that not enough women and ethnic minority MPs had been promoted to justify promises made by the Prime Minister in the preceding days. However, the maverick radio host appeared to backtrack on his claims this morning (January 11), telling listeners that he had to “correct” his comments. Mr. Mack said that although his remark about Mrs. May’s lack of balls was “anatomically correct,” he should not have made it. He also clarified that he could not be sure that May was the weakest Prime Minister the country had ever seen, as Clement Attlee or William the Younger could conceivably be weaker. In a statement, Mr. Mack said: “We received a serious complaint yesterday about what I’d said on the air. “Someone in a very senior position told me to make an apology. “I cannot reveal who made the complaint. The seriousness of the complaint did take me by surprise because a regular listener would realise that I take a swipe at all politicians regardless of which political party they represent.” Mr. Mack concluded his on-air correction by issuing an apology directly to the Prime Minister, saying that as the leader of the nation she must be respected. To listen to the segment of the program that got Graham Mack in trouble, please click here. Graham Mack also hosts “London Calling” a weekly program on TalkersRadio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes Mack as “one of the best radio talk show aahosts in the English-speaking world.”
iHeartMedia, MoviePass Announce Media Partnership. The agreement includes a marketing campaign across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network to help build further brand awareness of MoviePass and target new subscribers in select United States metros. In addition, iHeartMedia will be an authorized reseller of ad inventory across the MoviePass website and mobile app. According to iHeartMedia Ventures president Joe Robinson, “We have the capability to build significant brand awareness for MoviePass through our unparalleled scale and reach of more than 270 million monthly listeners across the country and our multiplatform assets. We see a unique opportunity with MoviePass, and its ability to understand and analyze audience trends and behavior which is a great asset for our advertisers, especially those looking to further engage with millions of movie-goers.” MoviePass chief executive officer Mitch Lowe comments, “We expect that our partnership with iHeartMedia will fuel our continued growth by targeting more profitable subscribers in low-cost markets, while also opening up a new revenue stream with digital advertising. We also expect that this relationship will be beneficial to movie exhibitors because we hope to drive more traffic into theaters and to advertisers through our strong working intelligence on the preferences and behaviors of a substantial amount of movie-goers. Our subscribers are going to twice as many movies a month as other consumers and are buying one in every 50 movie tickets in the U.S.” MoviePass launched its current $9.95 per month subscription plan this past August.
Wynter Boosted to iHM EVP Urban/Hip-Hop. Los Angeles urban contemporary KRRL “Real 92.3” program director Doc Wynter adds corporate iHeartMedia duties as executive vice president urban/hip-hop. President/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler states, “No one understands urban and hip-hop programming like Doc. We are thrilled that he is expanding his role leading iHeartMedia’s programming strategy for those key formats. He has been instrumental in launching several of our urban and hip-hop stations nationwide and we’re excited for him to be even more hands-on with all of our urban brands in our over 150 markets.” Wynter adds, “Urban radio has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Having worked with iHeartMedia for almost three decades, I know we have some of the best programmers and on-air personalities in radio. I can’t wait to help our region and market presidents provide their local urban and hip-hop music fans with one-of-a-kind listening experiences that only a company like iHeartMedia can create.” In this newly-created position, Wynter – most recently the company’s senior vice president of urban programming/urban brand manager – will report to chief programming officer Tom Poleman. Wynter began overseeing the company’s urban radio stations in late-1999 and launched several iHeartMedia brands such as “Power 105.1 FM” in New York City (on WWPR); “Real 92.3” in Los Angeles (on KRRL); “V101.5” in Jacksonville (on WSOL); and “The Beat” in various cities.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. After doing four years of night duty on iHeartMedia Los Angeles mainstream CHR KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM,” Freddy Rivera transfers to co-owned Dallas hot AC KDMX “102.9 Now” for afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm). KDMX program director Jay Shannon comments, “Freddy is an outstanding on-air talent and we are very fortunate to add him to our lineup. Freddy is very much looking forward to calling DFW his home.” Rivera, who starts at KDMX in a little over three weeks (2/5), notes, “I am very excited to write the next chapter in my radio career with ‘102.9 Now.’ I have heard so much about the food, nightlife, and community – I can’t wait to jump right in.” Los Angeles-born/Inland Empire-raised Rivera began his radio career as an intern for former “Kiss-FM” wakeup talent Rick Dees and worked on-air at Riverside-Bernardino-Ontario rhythmic CHR KGGI ….. Changes at Merlin Media-owned/Cumulus Media-operated alternative WKQX, Chicago find morning driver Brian Phillips handling mornings by himself as his former co-host – Lou Lombardo – segues to evenings. In addition, Lombardo adds “digital content captain” duties. Former WKQX evening talent “Marconi” left the station about two weeks ago ….. Two-year KMLE, Phoenix morning show host Chris Matthews departs the Entercom country outlet, but Nina D and producer “Badger Gabe” remain in place ….. Steve Guittari departs Cumulus Media Indianapolis; Guittari was operations manager of the cluster and program director of the company’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” ….. Also in the “Circle City,” according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, iHeartMedia Indianapolis sports talk WNDE pulls the plug on the Dave “Gunner” Gunn and Don Stuck-hosted morning show “Flagrant Foul.” Gunn (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Stuck (7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) continue though on classic rock sibling WFBQ “Q-95.” Clay Travis’ syndicated “Outkick the Coverage” returns to WNDE’s morning drive slot ….. Added to the weekend lineup of iHeartMedia-owned New York City rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” is Astra – who formerly did afternoon drive on cross-town mainstream CHR WBMP “Amp 92.3.”
Odom Out at WRXQ. The evening talent on Coal City, Illinois-licensed WRXQ “100.7 Q-Rock,” Ray “Crazy Ray” Odom, is pink-slipped by the Alpha Media station for remarks he made on CNBC’s “The Profit.” On a promo for that cable television show, Odom said, “I’m a sexist, egotistical, racist pig on the radio.” Alpha Media market manager Brian Foster notes, “We do not condone the views he expressed in the program. The feelings portrayed are that of his own and not of Alpha Media or ‘Q-Rock.’ After an internal review, we have decided to cut ties.” Odom is co-owner of Rayjus Outdoors, but he was placed on leave from that Morris, Illinois business, the subject of Marcus Lamonis-hosted “The Profit,” which offers financial help to struggling businesses. Lamonis acknowledges that Odom had, “a side job. I thought it may be a distraction, but I didn’t realize that the focus of it was to demonize minorities and degrade women.” Odom confirmed the firing, saying he worked hard to keep his radio persona separate from his business. “What I said got taken out of context completely – now I don’t have a radio job over it.” A Rayjus statement on Facebook reads, “Unfortunately, we cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. While an integral part of our organization, Ray will be taking a leave of absence to spend time with his family and reflect on what is in the best interest of his family and company.” Regarding what he has said on radio, Odom tells the (Joliet, Illinois) Herald-News, “Everybody has a different sense of what is funny and not funny.”
Entravision Expands La Suavecita. The Grupero/Cumbia La Suavecita format will be heard in 11 more markets, in addition to its Los Angeles area simulcast of KSSE, KSSC, & KSSD. Entravision president and chief operating officer Jeffery Liberman remarks, “Since its launch a year ago, La Suavecita has built an incredible following of loyal listeners and received strong advertising support in Los Angeles. We are excited to share this unique and exciting format with listeners in 11 new markets and to bring a powerhouse line-up of some of the most recognized on-air personalities in radio to La Suavecita. Los Angeles is the largest Hispanic radio market in the U.S. We believe our format, programming, and talent changes will allow us to better connect with our audiences, and in turn, our advertisers with their customers. La Suavecita is backed by a strong slate of on-air personalities that will drive engagement across our radio and digital platforms.” Coinciding with the national rollout of the La Suavecita format, El Genio will be heard 4:00 am – 10:00 am; “Piolin” (Eddie Sotelo) 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; Armida y La Flaka 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm; and Mayra 7:00 pm -12:00 midnight. Targeting women 25 – 49 and adults 25 – 54, La Suavecita surfaces in Houston (KGOL); Phoenix (KVVA and KDVA); Denver (KJMN and KMXA); Sacramento (KXSE); Las Vegas (KRRN); McAllen (KNVO); El Paso (KINT-FM); Stockton (KTSE); Modesto (KCVR); Palm Springs, California (KLOB); and El Centro, California (KSEH).
Cutbacks at Dick Broadcasting’s Three New Clusters. Back in September, Dick Broadcasting announced it would acquire Alpha Media’s 18 stations and two translators in Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville (North Carolina); Myrtle Beach (South Carolina); and Savannah (Georgia) for $19.5 million. Staffing cuts have been made in all three markets. Exiting WXQR “Rock 105,” Kinston-New Bern-Jacksonville are program director/afternoon talent Tina Smash and night host Ryan Daniels. Departures at the Myrtle Beach cluster include production director/WXYY “G-100.1” afternoon driver Mark ‘Shark’ Eddis and WFXH “Rock 106.1,” Hilton Head Island assistant program director/night talent Ryan Koch. The business manager position has been eliminated in the three aforementioned markets.
Drew Steele to Exit Mornings on ‘92.5 FOX News’ in Fort Myers/Naples. Current WFSX, Estero, Florida (Fort Myers/Naples market) morning personality Drew Steele is leaving Sun Broadcasting’s news/talk station to join KSL-TV, Salt Lake City. The News/Press reports that station management is talking to former morning show host – and former U.S. Rep. – Trey Radel, among others, about the position. Radel left the morning show host position at the station in 2012 to successfully run for congress in Florida’s 19th District. However, he resigned from the seat in January of 2014 after a cocaine possession conviction in late 2013. Station manager Jim Schwartzel tells the News/Press they have talked with Radel as well as other candidates about the open position.
Bill Michaels Upped to OM for Cumulus Toledo Cluster. Programmer Bill Michaels – responsible for leading classic rock WXKR, sports talk WLQR “106.5 The Ticket,” talk WTOD-AM, and alternative WQQO-HD2/W264AK – is promoted to operations manager for Cumulus Media’s Toledo cluster and Monroe, Michigan property country WMIM “98.3 NASH Icon.” The cluster also includes country WKKO “K100” and classic hits WRQN. This is a newly created position and in addition to his new responsibilities, Michaels will continue to program WXKR, “100.7 The Zone,” WLQR and WTOD as well as host the WXKR midday show from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart says, “Bill and I have worked together for a long time and while I am quite certain that he has the experience, intuition and leadership skills necessary to lead our stations to greatness, I’m also quite certain he can handle my penchant for emailing and texting him at 3:00 am.”
Dan Conry Assumes PM Drive on ‘Power Talk 1360/1280’ in Modesto/Stockton. Talk show host Dan Conry joins iHeartMedia’s news/talk simulcast KFIV, Modesto and KWSX, Stockton – “Power Talk 1360/1280” for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Conry says, “I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity with iHeartMedia in the Modesto/Stockton market. I’m excited to work with this team to take ‘Power Talk’ to the next level and I am very grateful to the leadership in Milwaukee, Madison and Sacramento talk radio for allowing me to sit in for some of the best talk talent in the country and keeping my show in the game.”
Dallas Cop Slayings Aftermath, The Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Email Case, Michigan Bailiffs Slain, and NBA’s Tim Duncan Retires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/11). The aftermath of the slayings of five Dallas police officers and the deaths of two black men at the hands of police in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis; the activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the GOP’s move to investigate whether Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI about the email issue; two Michigan bailiffs are slain in a courthouse; and NBA great Tim Duncan announces his retirement were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. This Thursday, ESPN is covering the Celebration of Life service honoring legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt. The 7:00 pm ET broadcast will also be covered by ESPN Radio’s Ryan McGee, co-host of “Marty & McGee.”…..KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan” is holding its 2016 Fan Kickoff to the PNC Champions Club at Heinz Field on September 8. The CBS RADIO station’s event allows fans to take part in an exclusive evening that includes appetizers, cocktails, desserts, and unique cigars – this year at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ home stadium. It’s also a fundraiser for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society via live and silent auctions featuring sports memorabilia, experiences and other items…..SRN Broadcasting (InternetFM.com,) and David Rusch Media (HomeImprovementUSA.net,) are launching the Home Improvement USA Radio Network that will air a variety of programs and features from across the country on a 24/7 basis. It will serve as a clearinghouse for programming for other terrestrial or Internet radio stations. Programming will center on home improvement, lawn and garden, energy efficiency, sustainable living, and product safety, among others…..“Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill adds two New Hampshire affiliates to its roster: WNNH-FM, Concord and WTSN, Dover/Portsmouth…..SiriusXM is presenting live coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Beginning Monday, July 18 for the Republican National Convention and Monday, July 25 for the Democratic National Convention, SiriusXM will transform its non-partisan P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of The United States) channel into “Convention Radio” featuring uninterrupted, gavel-to-gavel coverage from the convention floor. P.O.T.U.S channel hosts including Tim Farley, Michael Smerconish, Julie Mason, Michael Steele, and Rick Ungar will broadcast from each convention city, with White House correspondent Jared Rizzi reporting live from the convention floor.
iHeartMedia and Creditors Still at Odds Over Asset Shift. According to a report from Bloomberg, iHeartMedia and a number of its creditors have broken off talks to try to resolve the rancor over iHeartMedia’s shift of 100 million shares of Clear Channel Outdoor to a new subsidiary called Broader Media. Creditors including D. E. Shaw, Canyon Capital, Franklin Advisers and Franklin Mutual sued iHeartMedia over the move claiming that it violates the debt covenants. iHeartMedia argues that’s not the case and the move is designed to allow the company to deal more effectively with its $20 billion in debt. iHeartMedia told a Texas judge that if the creditors’ bond defaults are allowed to proceed, it would cause as much as $15 billion of the company’s debt to come due quickly and that would force the company into bankruptcy protection. The creditors argue that is not what they are trying to accomplish. iHeartMedia SVP and treasurer Brian Coleman says the company’s maneuvers are part of its Project Indigo, a long-term strategy designed to allow it to study ways to deal with its debt.
The Panama Papers, The Presidential Race/Wisconsin Primary, Iran Arms Shipment Case, North Korean Nuke Threats, Tennessee Bible Bill, and NCAA Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4). The so-called “Panama Papers” that reportedly link numerous world leaders to schemes to hide wealth in off-shore accounts; the activities of the candidates for president and today’s Wisconsin primary; the capture of illegal arms being shipped by Iran; the threats of nuclear attacks by North Korea; the controversial Tennessee bill that makes the Bible the official state book; and Monday evening’s NCAA Men’s Basketball championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Eric Zane Lands at Sports WBBL, Grand Rapids. After exiting the nationally syndicated “Free Beer and Hot Wings” show based at Townsquare Media’s rock WGRD, Grand Rapids, Eric Zane has landed the morning show gig at Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports talk WBBL, effective April 7. Zane officially left the show in mid-February after being absent from the program without explanation. It appears Zane’s departure was the result of a contract dispute. Now, he’ll compete in the Grand Rapids market directly with his former co-hosts Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels and Chris “Hot Wings” Michels. The “Free Beer and Hot Wings” show is syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks.
Lineup at ‘Altitude Sports’ in Denver to Launch on Friday. The newest sports talk radio station in the Denver market will officially launch on Friday, April 8 – the home opener day for the Colorado Rockies. Much of the news about Stan Kroenke-owned KRWZ, Denver (recently purchased from Entercom) is not really news as it’s been rumored and reported in the Denver media for some time. Here’s the lineup: Josh Dover hosts “The Morning Lineup” from 6:00 am to 7:00 am; the morning show will feature Tom Helmer, Lauren Gardner (an Altitude TV reporter), and former Denver Nuggets star Scott Hastings. Middays will be hosted by Vic Lombardi and Kyle Keefe. The station will also carry play-by-play of the NBA’s Nuggets, the NHL’s Avalanche; the MLS’ Colorado Rapids; and the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth.
Odds & Sods. There’s been a morning show and midday program re-build at CBS RADIO’s KHTK, Sacramento. Carmichael Dave is now joined by Kayte Christensen and former midday host Nate Goodyear. In middays, Jason Ross is partnered up with newcomers Ken Rudolph and Damien Barling. Jay Johnson joins the station as executive producer…..Long Nine Inc.-owned news/talk WMAY, Springfield, Illinois adds an FM translator to its broadcast with the addition of W234CC, Sherman, Illinois at 94.7 FM.
Dr. Toni Grant Dead at 72. The cause of death is unknown at this time, but the Los Angeles Times is reporting that former radio talk show host and psychologist Dr. Toni Grant died in Beverly Hills on March 27. Grant’s radio career was launched on KABC, Los Angeles in 1975 in the overnight daypart. Her show eventually moved across town to KFI. It went into syndication and at its height was heard on some 180 affiliates. She was off the air from 1990 to 1997 when she re-entered the business. She last worked on air at KABC in 2001. Read the Times’ obit here.
Cool Job Opportunity. “PowerTalk 1360 and 1280” is searching for a local talk show host for afternoon drive in California’s Central Valley. Applicants must have spoken-word experience. General necessities include a passionate, opinionated, outspoken, larger-than-life personality with decidedly conservative values, obsession for news, politics, pop culture, and sports. The ideal candidate will bring an intuitive understanding of the unique values, morals and issues of the California Central Valley and be in sync with those values and perspectives. You must have the ability to speak to the audience as one of them; put a voice to their thoughts and beliefs…much more important than professional polish or experience. In a perfect world you have spent time working in the Central Valley but you don’t have to presently live in the Modesto/Stockton area. You will fully embrace the role of a LOCAL personality: specifically address and engage the LOCAL community issues, organizations, and interests, capitalize on endorsement opportunities, serve as station ambassador, be visible at all community functions, spearhead station and cluster community outreach. You must understand and dedicate your performance to the bottom line: your goals are ratings and unique visitors. See required skills and submit resume and demo here.